My friend Rosey had the great idea to annotate a copy of Hollywood Homicide for a giveaway. I thought I’d take it one step further and share some insights in a blog post as well. (And I’m not just doing this because my handwriting is atrocious!)
Here’s some “insider info” on the first five chapters.
Warning: This does contain slight spoilers if you haven’t already read these chapters. It doesn’t ruin anything beyond these chapters though. I hope.
It was created by an amazing artist named Richard Meril. You can see more of his work on his Instagram page.
Hollywood Homicide is actually my third title. It started off as IOU (and there’s still a heavy acronym theme throughout the book.) My agent suggested we change it. A friend came up with using Day in the title. Second title was Pay Day. However, my publisher changed it again to give a better sense of the world of the book.
As you see, the day theme lives on with the series title: Detective by Day.
This wasn’t my original opening. Day’s still interviewing for a job but it was for a temporary corporate gig. My agent, Michelle, suggested changing it. This was is so much funnier.
Page 3: “I’m a six.” If it was really, really, really, really, really stretchy.
When I was at Vibe, a certain A-list diva’s stylist used the “if it’s stretchy” line when discussing clothing options for a cover. I knew I had to use that somewhere.
Page 4: Day’s Backstory
Day’s backstory was inspired by someone I knew when I first moved to LA. This person had a cushy gig as a spokesperson for a well-known store franchise. The role called for the person to act a bit of a fool in the commercials. But when finished acting a fool, they sure drove off in their fancy luxury car to their fancy luxury apartment.
Page 5: Day’s no curse rule.
I curse so much I consider it a hobby, so Day not cursing is always really hard for me to write. I have her use the word Fudge a lot but it’s not the same thing!
Page 9: The Flashback
This was originally a prologue but my lovely mentor, Sarah Henning, suggested we change it during Pitch Wars. Like the opening, I think it’s so much better here.
Page 15: NorthWest and Foreclosure
I actually didn’t name the loss mitigation firm after Kim and Kanye’s daughter.
The backstory with the parents was mentioned in passing in initial drafts but wasn’t a major part of the story. We changed it after my agent came aboard. Not to sound like a broken record but it was another note that made the story stronger.
Page 27: She’d read that the stylist for singer/rapper Kandy Wrapper always took pics of her client to ensure her outfits looked good in photos.
I, too, read about a stylist doing this. This is probably our first hint at Sienna’s intense desire to be famous, which is a prominent subplot in the book.
Page 27: Sienna’s Description.
I’ve always pictured Sienna looking a bit like Jessica Szohr.
Page 31: Aubrey’s Introduction
He’s the only character that I didn’t have a celeb in mind when I was writing how he looked. I still don’t. (Any ideas?)
His outfit, however, is based on a friend’s roommate. He used to bike at night so he would wear one.
Page 39: Emme’s Backstory
Emme and Sienna were actually one character. When I split them off, Emme’s backstory came from one simple question: What would happen if one of the Olsen twins quit acting right after Full House ended?
Page 42: Emme’s Necklace
I got this idea from my mom. She “repurposed” a few of her favorite pieces of jewelry into new and improved necklaces.
Page 43: Stephanie Dimsey
That is my subtle shout-out to two members of my Writers’ Group (and two of my best friends): Stephanie Dodson and Mocumba Dimsey.
If you want to keep reading, you can find the annotated guide to chapters 6 through 10.